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Enjoying a safe summer at the seaside

Top tips from the RNLI for staying safe at the beach.

If you're heading to the beach this summer, spare a thought for safety. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging anyone planning a trip to the beach and, particularly, anyone thinking of going into the water, to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim in the area between the red and yellow flags.

In 2014, RNLI lifeguards responded to 17,050 incidents, helped 19,353 people and saved 92 lives on some of the UK's busiest beaches.

To help the beach-going public stay safe, the lifesaving charity is offering some essential beach safety tips to make sure people remember their summer holidays for the right reason.

  1. Swim at a lifeguarded beach
  2. Swim between the red and yellow flags
  3. Never swim alone
  4. Know your beach safety flags
  5. Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas
  6. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help
  7. If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can't see a lifeguard call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard
  8. Find out about the beach you're going to before you visit
  9. Check tide times before you go
  10. Read and follow the advice on local hazard sign

Ross Macleod, RNLI Coastal Safety Programmes Manager, says: "We recommend that people choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, where the lifeguards can see them. We want people to enjoy their time at the beach, but it's important to put safety first. By following the advice the RNLI is offering, we hope people will stay safe at the beach so they remember their summer for the right reasons."

"RNLI lifeguards are specially-trained and a great deal of their work is preventative - they give advice and warn people of potential dangers, to prevent incidents happening in the first place."

"Those who can't make it to a lifeguarded beach should find out about their chosen beach before they go, read the safety signs to make themselves aware of the local hazards. Most importantly, if they see someone in trouble, they should call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard - but should not enter the water themselves."

This year, RNLI lifeguards are patrolling 200 of the UK's busiest beaches.

If you're in Bude, Bournemouth, Brockhole or South Shields this Summer, children aged 7-14 years can join a free Swim Safe session run by the RNLI and the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), to learn how to stay safe in and around open water.

The charity's free  Beach Finder mobile app can help you find the nearest lifeguarded beach.

Further practical advice and tips on how to stay safe or call 0800 328 0600.

RNLI Lifeguard